Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Oakwood Mortuary Chapel and Horatio N. May Memorial Chapel

The first entry is devoted to two unique buildings that Silsbee designed 20 years apart.  They are both mortuary chapels.  One is in Syracuse, NY and the other is in Chicago, IL.
The Oakwood Mortuary Chapel was constructed in Syracuse's Oakwood cemetery in 1879.  It is a very early example of the building type.  The structure is currently vacant, a shell of it's former life as the heart of activity in one of the most remarkable rural cemeteries in the country.
The May Memorial Chapel was commissioned by Anna May in memory of her husband, Horatio N. May.  The structure is a hidden gem with elaborate wood trusses, floor and ceiling mosaics and Grueby Faience tile interiors.  It is still in use by Rosehill Cemetery.

It is evident when seeing the buildings together how this building type developed and how Silsbee's personal style matured over time.
Side view of both chapels.
View of front and porte-cochere.
View of inside ceiling of porte-cochere.
View of rear of building from the receiving vault.

3 comments:

grace said...

thanks for the vital blog on the underappreciated art and design of joseph silsbee!

i will be having the distinct pleasure of seeing the closed interior of the horatio mays chapel in rosehill, chicago. let me know if you'd like me to share the photos i take

Anonymous said...

Thanks Grace, I had the pleasure of lecturing in the chapel last fall. It is a remarkable building. Enjoy. - Chris

grace said...

the interior of the mays chapel was an experience in gorgeous, organic design. and a visit to the back casket storage area was otherworldly...

by the way, thank you for naming the tile as grueby faience tile! i would've never known about this design detail.